Peter Rankine’s musical journey began on a river in North Queensland, where the exquisite beauty of pre-dawn birdsong transcended even the beauty of the light. This early attraction to the world of sound has continued and is his medium of choice in his response to life and its mysteries.
His wide-ranging output has embraced music for recitals, concert halls and theatre, and being mostly composed to commission, reflect the requirements, requests and circumstances of musicians, singers and directors with whom he has collaborated. If the period from 1986-1995 was primarily about orchestral and instrumental works, the period 1992-2012 was tilted toward theatre and choral music, and from 2004-present (yes, the periods overlap) a focus on vocal music, chamber music, and opera.
Career highlights include Symphonia Dialectica (opening the International Festival of Youth Orchestras in 1988) and Celtic Cross (which has featured Graeme Jennings and Warwick Adeney as violin soloist) for the Qld Youth Symphony under John Curro; From Fire by Fire for the Queensland Wind Soloists; Time and the Bell for clarinet soloist Paul Dean (and in 2003 concerto of choice for Symphony Australia Young Performer of the Year, Richard Haynes); John Brown, Rose and the Midnight Cat for the 1992 Out of the Box festival; Surya Namaskar, Chaand Namaskar for horn and percussion (Michael Dixon and David Montgomery); And So the Soul for the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra under Marcus Stenz; Media Vita for Canticum under Emily Cox, and Five Leunig Songs for St Peter’s Chorale under Graeme Morton and, in a re-conceived chamber version, for Grevillea Ensemble’s soprano Wendy Dixon, pianist David Miller, and guest hornist Michael Dixon.
In 2008, through-composed music for the play Roland Thring by Rod Ainsworth was in a sense a return to creating and recording music for theatre – Peter was distracted from science studies in 1980 to co-create music for productions of The Tempest and of Medea in Townsville, and one of his first professional commissions, in 1987, was for Expressions Dance Theatre in Brisbane. Recently, he composed The Crushing, and the recording of this 90-min chamber opera has brought him back to working directly onto (the digital equivalent of) ‘tape’ – augmenting the work he enjoys in collaboration with other artists.
From the Qld Conservatorium of Music (now QCGU) he earned his B.Mus, Grad Dip Mus, and at the University of Queensland he studied for his M.Mus and B.Ed. He lectured in music at QUT from 1988-95, and taught in primary and secondary secondary education from 2000-08, when he was also active in course design, consultation, and panel work. In 2018-19 he hopes to complete his PhD in the field of composition and realisation of opera in the digital age, for which he is studying at QCGU. His home and studio are located near his sailing boat in Hervey Bay, Qld.
For more works by this composer: www.bbmusic.com.au
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